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Engineering & Management Systems (EMS) Certificate

The certificate program in Engineering and Management Systems provides students with tools for the complex decision-making problems that arise in engineering and management. It is aimed at three types of students:

  • Engineering students interested in preparing for careers in management or consulting.
  • Students in the liberal arts looking to acquire the analytical tools typically used for careers in corporate or government settings.
  • Students in the sciences interested in a stronger exposure to analytical methods, and potentially careers in management or public policy.

It offers a coherent, integrated set of core courses that are based on analytical methods with applications in the planning and control of complex systems required by a modern technological society. Emphasis is placed on rigorous modeling and analysis, taking advantage of the vast flow of data and ubiquitous computing power available today. The EMS certificate program complements both the Finance Certificate and the Certificate Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics. Our emphasis is on developing analysis skills that are useful in engineering and management.

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Warren Powell, Director, Certificate Program in Engineering and Management Systems.


The EMS certificate program is open to both B.S.E. and A.B. majors at Princeton University. B.S.E. students are eligible for admission to the program once they have completed the engineering school core program (or its equivalent):

  1. Mathematics through Mathematics 202,
  2. Physics 103 and 104,
  3. Chemistry 201, and
  4. one course in computing at the level of Computer Science 126.

The certificate is available to A.B. students who have completed:

  1. The two science and technology courses,
  2. Mathematics through Mathematics 202, and
  3. one course in computing (typically Computer Science 126)

These requirements are satisfied if a student (A.B. or B.S.E.) has received AP credit in the course.

To be admitted, interested students should email the director of the program, stating that you would like to participate in the program. Please include your class and major, and let me know if you have placed out of any course requirements. Send your request to Professor Warren Powell.


The program for each student is worked out by the student and his or her departmental adviser. In some cases, a course can fulfill both a certificate program requirement and a regular departmental requirement. The EMS certificate program does not have a GPA requirement, so courses may be taken pass/fail, limited only by university regulations on pass/fail courses. All students must take courses from the following six areas:

  • ECO 100 - Description and Analysis of Price Systems
  • An introductory statistics course:
    • ORF 245 - Fundamentals of Engineering Statistics
    • ECO 202 - Statistics and Data Analysis for Economics
    • PSY 251 - Quantitative Methods
    • PHY 301 - Thermal Physics and PHY 312 Experimental Physics (both courses must be taken)
    • WWS 200 - Statistics for Social Sciences
    • This requirement may be satisfied by taking a higher level statistics course such as ORF 350, 405, or ECO 302/312
  • An introductory optimization course:
    • ORF 307 - Optimization
    • ELE 382 - Distributed Algorithms and Optimization Methods for Engineering Applications
    • CHE 442 - Design, Synthesis and Optimization of Chemical Processes
    • MAE 433 - Automatic Control Systems
  • A course in probability:
    • ORF 309 - Probability and Stochastic Systems
    • MAT 390 - Probability Theory
  • A course integrating optimization and uncertainty:
    • ORF 311 - Optimization Under Uncertainty
    • ORF 418 - Optimal Learning
    • COS 402 - Artificial Intelligence
    • MAE 345 - Robotics and Intelligent Systems
    • ECO 317 - Economics of Uncertainty
    • ECO 418 - Strategy and Information
    • WWS 312 / PSY 321 - The Psychology of Decision Making and Judgement
  • An integrative course in management, entrepreneurship or systems:
    • ORF 411 - Operations and Information Engineering
    • ELE 491 - High-Tech Entrepreneurship
    • CBE 442 - Design, Synthesis and Optimization of Chemical Processes
    • EGR 497 - Entrepreneurial Leadership

AP credit is allowed for ECO 100 (requires a 5 on the AP exam). AP credit is not allowed for statistics.

In addition to the course requirements, a senior thesis or project must be completed and presented to the program committee on a topic relevant to the program and acceptable to the program committee. Students in engineering departments that require a one-semester project can typically use a suitably designed project to satisfy the requirement. The project must be summarized in a report, which describes the methodology in full using appropriate mathematics.

Acceptable theses can be on a wide range of topics, as long as a significant portion of the thesis uses tools from some part of the core program (statistics, probability and stochastic processes, optimization). Topics do not have to be drawn from business or finance. A thesis with minimal or no mathematical modeling will not be acceptable. For example, if the research requires developing and estimating a statistical model, the thesis must carefully define the model in full using appropriate mathematics. Theses that are not allowed include "soft" topics such as the history of the Chinese economy, and hard-science theses (laboratory-based theses) which do not have a significant data-analysis component.

Enrolled Students

See a list of currently enrolled students.


Director: Warren B. Powell, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Interdepartmental Committee:

  • Christodoulos A. Floudas, Chemical Engineering (1991-2014)
  • Alain Kornhauser, Operations Research and Financial Engineering (2005-2014)
  • Sanjeev Kulkarni, Electrical Engineering (2005-2014)
  • Robert Schapire, Computer Science (2007-2012)
  • James Smith, Civil Engineering (2008-2015)
  • Robert F. Stengel, School of Engineering and Applied Science (2004-2015)
  • Ed Zschau, Electrical Engineering (2005-2014)